City Council Wednesday unanimously approved the first major update of Cincinnati’s zoning code in more than 40 years. Among the changes, there are more zoning classifications to promote mixed-use development.
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One classification, the ML zone, would allow banks, restaurants, bars and apartments in neighborhoods zoned for single-family homes. Also, the new code allows the creation of so-called “live/work” spaces. The classification is necessary to accommodate artists who want to have galleries or workshops in their dwellings, as well as small dot com-type businesses, officials said.
To some degree, this factor is catching up with the market 10 years later. Occupancy costs have increased fivefold and business is now more cost conscious. Space rationalization is occurring in response to these factors. This is contributing to the decline in occupied stock despite employment growth.
Interestingly, the market is dealing with it in a number of ways. Some tenants are reducing their workspace ratios back to modern benchmarks of around 14-16/Esq. per person. Secondly, some companies are consolidating various operations into the one office. This is creating some issues of backfill space in the A & B grade buildings. Thirdly some are pre-committing to new developments particularly where a rental saving can be made against the quality towers in the CBD. This is stimulating development activity in cost effective secondary locations of the CBD, or fringe markets such as West Perth & Subic.
According to the PCA, occupied space in West Perth increased by 7,300sq.m in 2003 driven partly by these moves and business growth amongst small resource and service sector tenants West Perth has a sizeable concentration of smaller engineering and resource sector service firms (such as geologists, mining consultants etc) who have benefited from the announcement of new resource investment.